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Seeking Sabonis: A Pitch for a Blazers Series

Inspired by the details emerging from HBO’s new series about the Showtime Lakers, Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald puts together a quick pitch for a Portland-themed show.

Arvydas Sabonis #11...

HBO’s new series focused on the Showtime Lakers started to take shape last week as announcements tied to castings and schedule surfaced. It is no surprise that one of the most iconic eras of one of the most iconic teams is getting the star treatment in the form of a Crown-like series. But as a life-long Trail Blazers fan, I can’t help but dream of a show that puts the Portland sports scene in the spotlight.

So, which Blazers era or storyline would best fit inside a HBO-like series? Much like how Jeff Pearlman’s book on the Showtime Lakers serves as a roadmap for the latest venture from Adam McKay and Max Borenstein, David Halberstram’s Breaks of the Game is an iconic journey through the post-Walton Blazers. But I am not here for the obvious answer. In my heart, I want to see a series that focuses on the Blazers’ decade-long pursuit of Arvydas Sabonis.

The Blazers organization planted the seeds in the podcast series “The Trail” and that entry serves as an excellent starting point for a full series pitch. To start, you have four characters that can serve as your foundation: Bucky Buckwalter, Harry Glickman, Bill Schonely and Larry Weinberg.

For the story, add equal parts:

  • Post-Bowie handwringing and disappointment. The scene: Buckwalter hunkered over a dimly lit desk late at night rifling through a stack of overseas box scores and scouting reports. In the background, the television blares another Jordan-centered product between a postgame report detailing a Blazers loss.
  • Cold War politics. A rough episode arc: LSU coach Dale Brown’s failed attempt to bring the two governments together over an exchange program.
  • Finally, the buddy-movie element. You have a decent list to mix and match from. You can pick between the members of the front office, Sabonis’ encounter with Drazen Petrovic and the burgeoning Drexler-led roster back in Portland.

From a casting standpoint, Bill Schonely’s look has not aged in 40 years. He has the acting chops to pull it off. Boom, done. Glickman is another easy one for me. I am sending a script to Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy, The Walking Dead) and investing in a good makeup artist. Weinberg is a little trickier, but at first glance, I would see if David Thewlis (Harry Potter, Fargo—season three) would have any interest. Buckwalter, well, nothing comes to mind right away.

Ok. Yep, that’s my music. Enough of me ranting. We want to hear from you! Give us your pitch for a Blazers-based series in the comments below.